Disordered eating is a way of eating where you don’t have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, but you also don’t have normal eating patterns. Someone with disordered eating might be on and off diets frequently, have a toxic relationship with food, and likely has periods of overeating to the point of feeling ill, then dealing with feelings of guilt and shame.
Intuitive eating is a great way to get a handle on your disordered eating and finally heal your relationship with food.
Do You Have Disordered Eating?
Let’s start by looking at some of the common signs of having disordered eating, so you know if this is something you need to work on. Disordered eating is not the same thing as having an eating disorder, though you can develop an eating disorder over time. For people with disordered eating, they might experience any or all of these symptoms:
- Anxiety or fear of foods
- Fear of hunger
- Counting calories, macros, or nutrients obsessively
- Weighing yourself multiple times a day
- Having your personal worth and confidence dictated only by your weight
- Avoiding social occasions purely because of your weight or to avoid the food
- Having obsessive thoughts about food constantly
- Strict rules about food what you can and can’t eat, or how much
Why This is a Problem?
To reemphasize, disordered eating is not the same thing as having an eating disorder, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t damaging to your body! When you have disordered eating, you have a toxic relationship with food. This can affect so many areas of your life, which you can probably see just looking at the signs of disordered eating.
- Some ways it affects your life might include:
- Avoiding social occasions with friends and loved ones.
- Having very low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
- Issues in your personal life and love life.
- An obsession with food and exercise that keeps you from enjoying your life.
- Side effects of malnutrition, such as hair falling out, weak muscles, dizziness and fainting spells, digestive issues, nausea, headaches, and many more.
How Intuitive Eating Can Help
Intuitive eating is a wonderful way to build a healthy relationship with food, and help you get to a place where you no longer have disordered eating patterns.
What is intuitive eating, exactly?
Instead of looking at food as either “good” or “bad”, as most of us do, intuitive eating seeks to eliminates those stigmas and simply refer to food as…well, food.
Unlike traditional diets of banning and suppression, intuitive eating encourages you to stop with the insanity of dieting and to start listening to your body.
Let’s say, for example, that every time you eat ice cream you experience gastrointestinal distress. For whatever reason, your body is responding negatively to the ice cream which should signal you to avoid it in the future. Yeah, the idea of no ice cream is painful, but perhaps looking for alternatives is the next best idea.
How To Eat Intuitively
To begin your journey to better intuitive eating, you must first come to reject the yo-yo dieting trends. Unsustainable eating patterns and restrictions are never lasting and further complicate your relationship with food.
Alternatively, try to focus on what your body is telling you. Like eat when you’re hungry, and don’t when you’re not. Learning to recognize your triggers is the first step to overcoming disordered eating patterns.
Through the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating, you learn how to love your body, honor your hunger and cravings, and have a better understanding of your own relationship with food.
It is not a linear process, but it can truly help you come to terms with the issues that led to your disordered eating, help you understand that food is not your enemy, and learn how to eat for fuel, energy, comfort, and happiness, without the stress and anxiety you have become accustomed to.